Fertility Fest (www.fertilityfest.com) was founded in 2016 by arts producers and fertility patients Jessica Hepburn and Gabby Vautier. It is the world’s first arts festival dedicated to fertility, infertility, the science of making babies and modern families which aims to use the power of the arts to improve fertility education and patient psycho-social solidarity and support.
The festival provides a unique and powerful live platform for artists from a wide range of disciplines - theatre, dance, music, literature, film and visual art – to come together in dialogue with fertility professionals - including scientists, doctors, embryologists, nurses, counsellors, charity leaders and academics - alongside patients and the wider public. Together they explore how reproductive science is changing the way the human race is being made.
The two films presented here were produced at the end of 2019 to showcase the growth and impact that the festival has had in just three years. One is a specially commissioned animation by Matthew Robins which aims to tell the ‘story’ of the festival – the reason for its inception, its aims and achievements. The other a celebratory ‘showreel' featuring some of the hundreds of artists and experts that have presented work over the last three years.
What started as a two day event in 2016 has grown exponentially into an international annual programme which in 2019 included a three week festival at London’s world-renowned Barbican Centre, satellite festivals at The Fertility Show (the UK’s largest patient event) and ESHRE (the largest fertility industry conference in the world) as well as widespread national media coverage. The festival has directly contributed to deepening understanding of what it means to make (and sometimes not make) babies in the modern world which, in turn, has led to improvements in healthcare practice and the breaking of the infertility and IVF taboo. It is a tangible example of how innovative interdisciplinary collaboration can lead to positive personal and societal change.